We Clean Oil Flues, Too – Do You Have An Oil-Burning Appliance?

Many of us have no problem remembering to have our fireplace flues swept before each heating season. But did you know that your oil-burning furnace flue needs sweepings too?

It’s easy to forget about our oil-burning furnace flues, but just as your wood- or gas-burning fireplace creates byproducts that can settle along the flue liner of your chimney, so does your oil-burning furnace.

But no need to worry. If you live in Northern VA, Maryland, or the Washington, DC area, the qualified techs here at Winston’s Chimney Service are here to help. We’ll clean your oil flue and have it ready to go in no time.

Why Schedule Oil Flue Cleanings?

Oil flue sweeping (cleaning) is essential for those who use oil to heat their homes. Not only does this service prevent dangerous buildup inside your oil-burning appliances – like your furnaces, boilers, and water heaters – but it also offers many other benefits as well.

Your Air Supply Stays More Pure

A clogged flue often forces vapor and gas byproducts of combustion (like carbon monoxide) to leak back into the home and into the air you and your family are breathing in. This can be extremely detrimental to the health of those in the home, especially if they are already prone to respiratory issues. In addition, carbon monoxide can be deadly if not detected quickly enough – and due to its colorless, odorless nature, this isn’t always so simple.

When your oil flue’s walls are clean and smooth, byproducts can easily exit the home – just as they were intended to. Count on us for regular cleanings, and be sure to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout your home too.

Your Appliance Works as Efficiently as Possible – For as Long as Possible

A clean flue encourages good airflow and allows your appliance to work as efficiently as it should. This not only ensures your home stays as comfortable as you need it to, but it also helps to keep your monthly energy bills in check.

And since air flows easily, your appliance doesn’t have to work so hard – and should end up having a much longer service life than it would otherwise.

Your Flue Liner Remains in Good Condition

A clean, byproduct-free flue liner will last much longer than a liner that is caked in corrosive byproducts. Flue liners play a vital role in keeping your appliance running efficiently, safeguarding your home, and properly guiding fumes up and outside where they belong. By regularly removing any settled byproducts from your flue walls, you can ensure a longer service life for your flue liner. 

That means money saved, and the peace of mind your household deserves.

Your Risk of Home Damage Decreases

Regularly maintaining the chimney or vent stack also helps keep the exterior of your house looking great and prevents corrosion from occurring. Professional oil flue service technicians have access to advanced tools that ensure all of the excess buildup from carbon, corrosive sulfur, and soot is removed from the interior – while protecting the exterior too.  

What Are the Dangers of Neglecting Oil Flue Cleanings?

  • A clogged oil flue prevents exhaust from escaping, which can cause harmful fumes to remain in your home or building – and increases the risk of experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Dirty or clogged flues can cause your heating system to work harder, which then leads to higher energy bills.
  • Buildup can quickly create a fire hazard – especially if the heating system is used frequently.
  • Clogs can cause damage to the heating system over time, reducing its life span and resulting in costly damage down the line.
  • If you neglect your oil flue cleaning, this may void the warranty on the system.
  • When flues are clogged with debris, this can lead to increased pressure in the system and up the risk of oil leaks.

Long story short – taking proactive steps toward caring for your oil-burning appliance will protect you, your loved ones, and your property from potential fire hazardous emissions, damage due to corrosion, and more.

What Part of the Country Burns Fuel Oil in Their Homes?

Fuel oil has been used as an energy source in homes across the United States for over a century. While its popularity varies regionally, it remains a reliable source of residential heating for many in certain parts of the country. But which parts?

Fuel oil is typically used in rural and coastal areas, such as Northern New England. This includes areas like Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, Upstate New York, and Long Island. You also tend to see it used in parts of Northern California, near San Francisco. 

Why these areas?

In these areas, and in locations with similarly chillier climates, fuel oil’s portability and low cost make it an ideal choice for those looking to heat their homes economically. For those living further inland and further south – where natural gas is more readily available – fuel oil is less common. That said, it does account for some home heating solutions in certain states like North Carolina and Tennessee.

With proper maintenance, fuel oil can provide reliable home warmth for many years to come. Be sure to trust one of our qualified techs for regular servicing, so you always get the most from your system.

Why Do Homeowners Overlook Oil Flue Cleaning?

While oil flue sweeping (cleaning) is an important process that helps to ensure the proper operation and efficiency of oil-burning systems, it’s unfortunately often overlooked.

Many times, this is because the system operating off the oil flue is working efficiently, without any obvious problems. Yet, even without signs of malfunction, there are still factors that can cause pollutants, soot, and other combustibles to build up inside the oil flue system.

A buildup of residue can cause the system to eventually stop working altogether, leading to costly emergency repairs, as well as unnecessary health risks for those in the home. It’s always better to stay ahead of these issues, rather than wait for them to come up on their own.

This is why we urge anyone with an oil-burning system in their home or workplace to have their flue swept regularly by a trained chimney technician, like one of our experts.

How Do Clogged Oil Flues Create Carbon Monoxide Leaks?

Burning any type of fuel produces dangerous byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, but burning oil is particularly dangerous if the exhaust from the flue is not well maintained.

The problem occurs if the flue is blocked or has leaks. This means that, instead of the dangerous byproducts escaping outdoors, they end up circulating around your home, making you ill and killing you slowly.

It is important to inspect your oil flue system periodically for signs of soot spillage around the furnace, as well as look for condensation or any corrosion in the venting materials – all of which could make it vulnerable to blockages or leaks. If you notice any of these signs, it is advised to call a chimney professional immediately and have them service or repair your oil flue as soon as possible.

Doesn’t the Company That Delivers the Oil Clean the Flue?

Nope – while most companies that deliver oil recommend you have this maintenance done annually, they never actually sweep or clean your flue as part of their service.

Unfortunately, though, this is a common assumption that gives homeowners a false sense of security and greatly increases their risk of experiencing harmful hazards.

Having your flue professionally swept is critical to protect against potential risks, and this means it’s up to you to stay on top of scheduling and keeping your flue clean and operational. If the flue isn’t swept on a regular basis, it can become clogged with soot and other residues. Not only can this reduce the efficiency of the furnace, but it can also be potentially dangerous in increasing the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Can I Clean My Oil Flue Myself, or Should I Hire a Professional?

The question of whether or not you should clean your own oil flue yourself or hire a professional really depends on a few factors. 

Consider first the complexity of the job. If your oil flue is particularly tricky to access, or if it requires specialized tools and techniques, you might be better off considering the services of a professional. If, on the other hand, your flue is easy to access and looks relatively simple to clean, then – with careful preparation – it might be beneficial to take care of it yourself. 

Before choosing to attempt this task alone, however, make sure that you fully understand all safety and personal protection requirements necessary to keep yourself and those in your home safe. In the end, this is a job we’ll almost always recommend leaving to a pro.

How Much Does Oil Flue Cleaning Cost?

While it may seem like an unnecessary expense at first, the cost of regularly scheduling oil flue maintenance pales in comparison to the repairs costs involved with neglecting this maintenance.

The soot buildup that occurs over time can be a significant fire hazard, causing damage not just to personal property, but nearby structures as well. Furthermore, leaving the flue uncared-for releases dangerous and toxic fumes into the home – which can lead to health issues for you and your loved ones.

Therefore it’s easy to see that the cost of regular oil flue sweeping is nothing compared to the costs of not servicing it – both in terms of money and safety.

Who Cleans Oil Flues?

Believe it or not, the chimney technicians at Winston’s Chimney Service sweep oil flues in addition to our many chimney and fireplace services. 

We all know that keeping an oil furnace in good working condition is a difficult task that requires the attention of a professional. And oil flues need frequent maintenance so that the fuel burns correctly and safely. For this reason, it’s important to hire a well-trained specialist (like our certified technicians) to keep your furnace flue in check. 

Sweeping and servicing oil flues is a complex process, and we wouldn’t recommend it be attempted by anyone who isn’t equipped with the necessary tools, knowledge, and experience. 

Chimney sweep technicians are able to detect small issues before they become major problems. You can count on our techs to check for corrosion, blockages, and loose connections, in order to guarantee any problems are addressed early and maximum efficiency and correct venting is maintained.

In the end, adequate servicing of these flues every season can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring an optimal level of performance – and it can help in lowering fuel costs too.

When Should I Hire a Chimney Sweep to Sweep My Oil Flue?

If you own an oil-fired heating system, then your flue needs regular attention. This is why it is important to know when to hire a chimney technician to sweep your oil flue. 

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having your chimney professionally inspected and swept at least once a year, or more frequently if the usage of your heating system increases. Not adhering to this schedule can put you at risk for unhealthy air, a potential fire hazard, and decreased efficiency in the operation of the furnace.

Why trust a chimney tech?

Chimney technicians are experienced professionals who will inspect the inside of your flue and remove any hazardous buildup that may reduce airflow or be combustible if overheated.  When you hire a certified and experienced chimney technician, you can rest assured that your oil flue has been serviced according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. 

Once the job is done, you can enjoy your oil home heating appliance with peace of mind and healthy indoor air all winter long – a well worthwhile investment for any household!

What If My Flue Liner Is Already Damaged By Heat & Byproducts?

If we find that your oil flue has already been damaged by the heat and byproducts of oil combustion, we can replace the liner with a new, durable liner. Our experts know which liners work best with oil appliances and can make sure that you get the proper product and the proper installation.

Don’t Wait – Schedule With Us Today

Call us today to get your next appointment scheduled. Or you can reach out to us online, and a Winston’s Chimney Service specialist will be in touch. We look forward to serving you soon – get ready for us to wow you!


We are ready to take care of your professional chimney cleaning so call on us for your chimney and fireplace sweeping for the best results.

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109